The Importance of Alt Text, Image Titles, and Image Descriptions

Hello, SEers! It’s great to have you drop by and hang out for a while. Because I’m a visual person, I want to chat about images today—all those lovely pictures we share on our blogs. This isn’t about copyright, making sure your images are royalty free, or obtained through a stock site. That’s another post for another day and I think most of us know displaying work on your blog you don’t own (especially without proper attribution) can set you up for headaches, even lawsuits. Harmony Kent recently shared Public Domain practices and sources you might find helpful.

What I want to address are three elements you should be adding to every image:
Image Title
Alt (or alternate) Text
Image Description

Adding these items allows search engines to easily find and index content. As an example, Google places a higher rank on images with Alt Text than those without. If you want the snazzy cover of your latest novel to show up in image results, you need to optimize it for spiders and bots. Secondly, screen readers used by the visually-impaired rely on these elements to translate content. Let’s break it down:

IMAGE TITLE
If you are a WordPress user, Image Title is not the title you see on the right-hand side of your screen when you are viewing image attributions (example below):

close up of wordpress media library title section

That title is used by your media library to help you to search and find content as your library grows.  What you want is the Image Title Attribute under Image Details;

To enter an Image Title Attribute:
Use the Visual Editor within WP
Click the image so that it’s “selected”
Select EDIT
Select ADVANCE OPTIONS
Go to IMAGE TITLE ATTRIBUTE and type in your title

close up of wordpress image details advance options
Now when someone mouses over the image, they’ll get a pop-up displaying the title attribute. Something else for all those search engine spiders to catalog!

Book cover of a Desolate Hour by Mae Clair with image title pop-up displayed

ALT TEXT
Alt Text appears when an image doesn’t display in a browser. You know—those lovely empty boxes with an x in the upper corner? Rather than leaving a user wondering what’s missing, alternate text will display when the user mouses over the area. Browser glitches happen, so it’s good practice to be in the habit of adding alternate text.

Alt Text is also highly useful for those who are unable to see an image and rely on screen readers. I tend to keep this part descriptive, but it’s also an opportunity for you to tag a book image with the title and your name. It doesn’t hurt to add a few keywords to benefit. You’ve just created something else related to your brand for search engines to index!

IMAGE DESCRIPTION
It’s pretty obvious what goes here. Again, this attribute is helpful for those who rely on screen readers. I normally copy my Alt Text and paste it into my Image Description. I’m not sure if that’s a good practice, but it’s one I’ve gotten in the habit of doing. You can see what I mean in the screenshot below.

close up of wordpress media alt text and image description sections

 

These are all simple things, easily overlooked, but helpful to bloggers and those surfing the web. We also need to remember that not everyone is able to see images in the same way, and there are many web users who rely on screen readers.

Do you already make it a habit of adding titles, descriptions, and alt text to your images? Yes, it’s an extra step, but once you get in the habit, it becomes automatic. Chime in and share your opinion in the comments!

Bio banner for author Mae Clair

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64 thoughts on “The Importance of Alt Text, Image Titles, and Image Descriptions

  1. Great post Mae, thanks. Ironically, I’ve been following this blog for the last year and stopped receiving notification of posts awhile ago. I came here through a shared tweet. When I go to my ‘reader’ it’s not showing I’m subscribed to follow, not showing your blog listed at all, yet at the bottom of this page it says’your following this blog’ how weird?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie, I think Google started doing that sometime last year. I remember hearing about it through a couple SEO sessions I did.
      With the Alt Text, etc., I think it becomes habit after you do it for a while. I know it has for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Patriot Day and Another Busy Week – Joan Hall

  3. Fantastic share, Mae! I’ve been adding Alt Text to images in Peace by Piece Puzzles, but not my own blog. Crazy, right? I understand the significance of it from my previous work experience with visually impaired clients. Definitely going to add titles and descriptions to all images I post! Thanks again for this gem of a share! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy to share, Natalie. It sounds like you already started a good process with Peace by Piece Puzzles, but just need to continue it on your blog. I’ve made it a practice to always do Alt Text and Image Description, I just have to take the time to start image titles too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Audrey. Yep, you’re right about the WP editor and adding a caption. Alt Text and Image Description are in the same place. Sometimes, when I add a caption, I just copy it to the other two. I love using WP for it’s wonderful features!
      Thanks for dropping by to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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